We’re barely even into the Holiday season and I’m already burned out on sweet, malty beers. It happens every year; I get excited about all of the Christmas sweaters and twinkling lights and I hit the seasonal brews hard, wallowing in a sea of fruit-cake and all-spice flavored beers. I don’t even have my tree up yet, and I’m already looking forward to spring pilsners and pale ales. I need a palate cleanser, you know?
Luckily, I found a beer that will get me through the holidays: Carver Sweet Potato Lager from Fullsteam, out of Durham. I know what you’re thinking. Sweet potatoes? In a beer? But it works. Imagine a pumpkin beer without all of the cloying flavor additives. No cinnamon, no vanilla, no all spice…What you’re left with is a crisp lager with an umami like earthiness. Fullsteam makes Carver year round, but it feels like a seasonal without any of the annoying trappings of a seasonal. It’s somehow “Christmasy” without being too sentimental, like that great Christmas album from Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack. Does that make sense? Probably not.
Fullsteam in general is a brewery I think people should pay more attention to. Especially if you’re one of those hipsters who won’t eat an egg that wasn’t sourced within 12 feet of your home. Fullsteam goes out of its way to source local, North Carolina ingredients, going so far as to buy produce from their customers for certain small batch beers. The sweet potatoes in this particular beer are home grown right here in North Cackalacky. And they’re good. Christmasy, even.